Trigger warning: Sexual assault
Constance Wu has opened up about being raped by an aspiring novelist during the early years of her career in an excerpt of her upcoming memoir Making a Scene.
In an essay from the book published by Vanity Fair on September 26, the Crazy Rich Asians and Fresh Off the Boat actress recalled a date she had with an aspiring novelist named Ty when she was in her early 20s. She then described the 36-year-old man as tall and broad-shouldered with an amazing personality.
“Ty was wonderful on that first date. Held the door open for me, pulled out my chair. We skipped small talk and shared our thoughts on art and culture. He worked some kind of generic nine-to-five job but was an aspiring novelist," Wu wrote.
She went on, "I considered myself an aspiring artist as well, and we impressed each other by declaring our dreams and pitying the mundanity of other people’s lives. As we talked, his eye contact felt like a wave of heat. It overwhelmed me.”
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Wu added that on their second date, the novelist said that he had a gift for her and asked if she could come upstairs so he could give it to her. Her instinct sent her a signal of warning, but she ignored it and went upstairs to received his gift. As a form of appreciation, she kissed him and that was when the incident happened.
The actress confessed that she wasn’t ready to have sex with him, but he didn’t listen to her plea and she was left with no choice but to give up.
“ I was already so embarrassed. Of my body, my arousal, my unacknowledged plea. So even though he and I were the only two people in the room, I didn’t fight back because I didn’t want to make a scene," she wrote.
While it was clear in her head that what happened to them wasn’t consensual sex, she wasn’t able to recognize early that it was rape because he wasn’t violent. Wu started to ignore his messages and sent an email to him that she didn’t want to date him anymore.
“I think he must have felt hurt and rejected, but instead of being sad that a girl didn’t like him, he turned to anger,” she wrote. “He made a scene, calling me a heartless b—, an ugly wh— who would never get anywhere in life,” she confessed.
In her book, Wu also opened up about the alleged sexual harassment she experienced from the Fresh Off the Boat production staff. The Golden Globe nominee explained that she was afraid to speak out that time due to the shows popularity among Asian-Americans.
“I kept my mouth shut for a really long time about a lot of sexual harassment and intimidation that I received the first two seasons of the show,” she said. “I thought, ‘You know what? I handled it, nobody has to know, I don’t have to stain this Asian American producer’s reputation, I don’t have to stain the reputation of the show.’”
Author and CNN opinion columnist Jeff Yang has since spoken out regarding the claims. Yang, whose son Hudson Yang played Eddie Wang in Fresh Off the Boat, felt sorry for not speaking out when Wu informed her about her harassment experiences during the show's production.
On September 24, Yang distanced himself from Wu's sexual harassment claims.
“I don’t want to talk about it, it’s not my place to comment and I have nothing to share,” he wrote.
In a Twitter thread, Yang explained that the tweet he made was to deal with numerous questions he received regarding Wu's upcoming memoir.
“I tweeted this because people were swarming me with questions about Constance's book, and I haven't read it or been able to follow the reporting—I'm on a project in a remote place with bad Internet,” he said.
The author also confirmed that Wu reached out to him about the harassment, but he didn’t know how to react to her allegations. He expressed his dismay because he could've pushed her to speak up, but he didn’t.
He asked her why she he had not informed the executive producers, to which she clarified that she was not on good terms with one of the production staff because he had sexually harassed her. This is connected to her recent statements that a senior producer, who has an initial “M,” had been forcing her to send selfies to him and touching her inappropriately.
“I ask myself: Did I let her passing statement go out of respect and admiration for the person in question? Or out of concern for ripple effects on others, including my son? Or because felt I had no right to speak up in this situation? Whatever the case, I failed in that instant.”, Yang continued.
The author finished the thread with a statement: “So that's my piece. I don't have any more insights, just some serious reflections about what I should have done upon hearing an allegation like that, even casually, even in passing, even years after the fact. The easy road is always to be a bystander, and I took the easy road.”
I don’t want to talk about it, it’s not my place to comment and I have nothing to share.— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 24, 2022
Yesterday, Yang also clarified that as per Wu, the harassment happened in Season 2 and not Season 5.
Wu supported Yang's tweet by commenting, “Yes & I have a witness as proof it was in season 2 I told you. Thank u for ur correction & apology. It’s ok, I honestly understand & empathize w/ ur inaction/uncertainty bc pre #me-too none of us knew what to do in those cases, myself included.”
Correction, per @ConstanceWu: she says it was Season 2, not Season 5. And I should make clear that she did say sexual harassment explicitly.— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) September 28, 2022
I don’t want to minimize what she said at that time because of my bad memory. These errors are entirely on me. https://t.co/AI8BQb1I0X
Constance Wu's memoir Making a Scene will be released on October 4 while her upcoming film Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile along with Shawn Mendes and Javier Bardem is set to premiere on October 7.
Pre-order link in bio ❤️ pic.twitter.com/x7wGU8Tfjr— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) August 19, 2022